The Legend of Spyri and Gympi - Part 11
After his operation, Andrew joined Stuart and Maria, living with the two D brothers in the new house they had built over Stuart’s old house. Learning to walk again, even with the help of the two brothers and Stuart, was difficult for Andrew. The operation had been unable to completely fix his legs and so he would always walk with a strange, tilting gait. Occasionally, the old pain would return and Stuart would be the first by his side to support him if he needed it. Andrew never needed to say anything and most people wouldn’t even notice that he was struggling, but Stuart would. Stuart and Maria said it was the slight deepening of the scar lines on his face, but nobody else ever seemed to notice.
Having Big D and Little D as permanent fixtures in the town boosted the town’s work force, because there were few men left and everyone agreed that they did a good job taking care of all the war orphans. Slowly, slowly, the town returned to its former busy self – that is if you didn’t include the shadow that lay across the town every anniversary of the Night of Burning. Every anniversary of that day, all the children who Spyri had saved, led by Stuart and Andrew, would walk a circuit of the town, stopping at the plaques of brass fixed on the new buildings that had been built over the foundations of the old. They would recount the stories of the mysterious Spyri and Andrew would smile. Nobody called Stuart ‘Stuart’ anymore, everyone called him Spyri. He was the town’s hero.
The town grew. Time passed. The children became adults in their own rights and Stuart was unanimously voted by all the town’s folk as the next mayor for 12 years running. In history, he would always be remembered as Mayor Spyri, the mysterious shadow saviour of the children of Thistlowood and in the shadow of his name, would be Gympi, Jessica Frilby and the two D brothers, besides the long lists of those who had perished in the fires of the Night of Burning.
True to his word, Andrew left on long journeys to go travelling to far and distant places, never telling anyone, but Spyri when he was going. He never told them where he was going either, but when he returned every few times a year and almost certainly every Anniversary, he would be a favourite with all the children of the town. Not to mention quite a few of the adults who had not forgotten his songs and stories. When he returned, children would fly into the town, shouting the words to the tune ‘I see the band far away’. Every time he returned, he would bring with him surprises, toys and presents that would delight both young and old, but most of all, he would bring with him new stories and songs. No special town event was right without Andrew and Stuart did not begrudge him the attention when he came home.
To Stuart, every time he saw Andrew, he felt sad. It was like his best friend was slipping away, just like the shadow he’d been during the early days of the war. Somehow, Andrew had convinced Jessica, whose heart had been set on him, to look to other places and guided her to Stuart. Although Stuart had sent messages everywhere he could think of, he’d been unable to find Andrew and invite him to the wedding… but somehow, Andrew had known and been there in the front row to see the happiest day of his best friend’s life.